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An Ode to Box Tops

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

It is likely that most American grocery shoppers, educators, and families are familiar with Box Tops for Education– you remember those pink coupon-like rectangles found on every box of Honey Nut Cheerios you’ve bought in the past few decades, right? While it may be common knowledge that these cardboard clippings can be donated to schools in order to raise money, we thought we’d use today’s blog as an opportunity to step back and reflect on the history and impact of this 21-year-old experiment in school fundraising.


In 1996, California-based food company General Mills devised Box Tops for Education as a way for consumers to help American schools raise additional funding by purchasing select household products. Each General Mills grocery item had a Box Top worth 10 cents printed on its packaging, which families were encouraged to cut out and turn in to their local school who can then redeem the clippings for cash. The program quickly proved to be a massive success with more than 30,000 U.S. schools participating in the program by the year 1998. Today, Box Tops can be found on an assortment of grocery products including juices, plastic bags, frozen pizzas, and more. You can even earn additional Box Tops using the Box Tops Bonus App on your smartphone- that’s right, welcome to the future of fundraising. General Mills says that over 80,000 schools are currently participating in the program, and schools have earned over $780 million from Box Tops since the program’s conception.


Are you supporting your local school community by collecting Box Tops for Education? If yes, keep it up! If not, it’s easy to get started. Box Tops are a powerful way for schools to earn additional funding to use towards edtech purchases, playground equipment, educational opportunities like field trips, and more. Some schools have used the funds towards dances and parties, while others have purchased key classroom supplies like books and rugs thanks to the program- perhaps one of the best aspects of Box Tops for Education is the agency schools have in choosing how to spend their earnings. Each school has its own individual needs and priorities based on its location, size, and annual budget- Box Tops gives institutions the freedom to decide how to most effectively allocate their funds.

Already an avid Box Top collector? We challenge you to take things to the next level by organizing a Box Top donation box at your workplace! Encourage your coworkers to bring in extra Box Tops from home and offer to submit them to your own child’s school or an institution agreed upon by staff. Just imagine all the unnoticed, unredeemed Box Tops sitting in your colleague’s kitchens- that’s free money that would be highly beneficial to local schools in need!


As you can see in the picture above, we’ve decorated our Box Tops donation box and placed it in a popular area of the office (the kitchen) to increase visibility. We’re excited to help a local school purchase the supplies they need thanks to the Box Tops for Education program, and we hope to encourage other individuals and workplaces to follow suit!


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